Shock Waves (1977)

shock waves poster 1977 movie nazi zombies
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 8/10

Has some good atmospheric points

Weird to watch a horror movie like this with no sense of irony, some shooting problems

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Shock Waves

Studio:  Laurence Friedricks Enterprises

Genre(s):   Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):   July 15, 1977

MPAA Rating:  PG

shock waves zombies underwater nazi

Dude…we’ve got it so easy these people just keep running into the water!!!

A woman named Rose (Brooke Adams) has been found adrift in a beaten old dingy.  She begins to recall the tale of her chartered tour ship which ran aground near an island with a deserted hotel and the horror that was unleashed.  As Rose and the other castaways tried to discover a way off the island, an old horror has resurfaced and threatens to kill them all!

Written and directed by Ken Wiedenhorn (with additional writing by John Kent Harrison), Shock Waves is a Nazi zombie horror thriller.  The low budget film was released to mixed to positive reviews and gained a cult following over the years.

It is weird to think that Nazi zombies is a subgenre of the zombie film and that there are enough of the movies to have followers.  Shock Waves was one of the earlier outings into what now is a horror trope that has crossed over into other mediums like video games.  Shock Waves works for what it is, but it feels like it could be so much better.

shock waves peter cushing nazi

The real reason I left the Nazis is that they kept making fun of my ascots

The story is part of the problem with the film.  The writers had a good concept for the movie, but it feels like it is only a concept.  It is bookended by Brooke Adams character so that leads to two problems in that you know she is the only survivor and that she isn’t in very much danger (I actually think a better idea would have been if she was completely crazy and none of it happened).  Once the island parts start, it loses direction and you have cliché characters doing cliché things that get them killed (in addition to everyone running into the water every time the water loving zombies attack).

The cast is mixed.  You have veteran genre actors Peter Cushing and John Carrradine with relatively small roles who feel like they are there for the vacation and cash.  Brooke Adams was up and coming at the time and Luke Halpin (one of the stars of Flipper) can’t seem to stay away from the water.  These are mixed with rather generic character actors who simply serve as fodder for the zombies (who are more interesting than most of the living cast).

You will die in a horror movie if you are A) Slightly over weight B) Middle-aged C) Materialistic D) All of those above

The movie has some great visual cues but it also has some problematic parts.  It seems like the movie was often shot night-for-day and it is difficult to see if it supposed to be night in some scenes (the zombies hate light which seems like a pretty big weakness).  The underwater footage is reminiscent of Creature from the Black Lagoon and aspects of Carnival of Souls with the zombies walking slowly and methodically into and under the water in rather creepy visuals.

Shock Waves definitely is worth seeing if you are a fan of horror.  It isn’t as gory as a modern zombie movie and it feels like it should be more gory even for 1977 (it was PG at the time when PG was so much more lenient).  I could see this actual movie being remade sometime and with some script tweaking (but not too much), a remake could be a welcomed addition to the modern zombie movie…it just better be R-Rated.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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